"I don't consider myself the last resort in our offense," said Philadelphia's 7-foot-1 center Caldwell Jones. "All the teams look to stop Doc (Julius Erving) or Darryl (Dawkins) and sometimes leave me alone. Tonight, I made a few and I said, 'hey, let's try that again.'"
While the Washington Bullets were concentrating on halting the main cogs in the 76ers' Express, the hustling Jones poured in 18 points and collected a season-high 26 rebounds. In addition to the six-year veteran's board work, Jones did a fine job of shutting down the Bullets' leading scorer, Elvin Hayes, with 14 points.
"you just try to play E tough and stop him from getting to his spots," said Jones, minutes after the 76ers dumped the Bullets, 111-96, tonight at the Spectrum to take a one-game lead in their three-game min-series. "and, I tried to make him play me on offense, make him run some too."
Jones, who also had four assists, had just hauled in his 26th rebound with 4:13 left when he took a bad step and limped to the sideline. The injury was diagnosed as a slightly sprained ankle and it will be X-rayed Thursday. "hopefully, I will be in the lineup when we play the Bullets at Capital Centre (Friday night)," Jones said.
The Bullets won't be in any hurry to see Jones again. Wearing a menacing looking face mask to protect his broken nose, Jones resembled a rail-thin Martian bent on doing destruction to anyone who came close to him. Few dared.
C.J. (Jones did a good job," said Bullet guard Kevin Grevey, who fired in 34 points. "he controlled the game and took 'e' out of his."
Dawkins, who usually assumes the macho intimidating role, didn't mind watching for a change.
"C.J. really helped me on defense and played an excellent game," said the 6-111/2, 255-pound rim-breaker Dawkins. "when you play the Bullets, you look for a bump-'em game inside. We didn't let 'e' and Wes (Unseld) We didn't let 'e' and Wes (Unseld) get going on the offensive boards."
The game was close until Jones began to assert himself in the second quarter. He scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds to help the Sixers take an 11-point halftime lead.
"no one is expected to carry the load," Jones said while stretched out on the floor with ice on his ankle. "i have a role and I try to contribute. Some nights the ball comes to you. I was able to get in the lane close enough to shoot my little hook shot. But everyone got involved tonight."
Lionel Hollins, who once went by the nickname Train, may have picked up a new surname -- Metroliner. The lithe, shooting guard threw in 21 points, 12 of them in the second half. He, along with quick Maurice Cheeks, (13) who had been questionable because of a concussion, easily zipped by the Washington guards for layups or open shots.
"my game is shooting," said Hollins. "things just went well. Kevin shot well on me but I think I evened up things a bit. Once a shooter gets that confidence going, you can't stop him. But C.J. played good defense and everyone got involved. That's the key."
Coach Billy Conningham of the 76ers was tickled his team played so well without a good game from the Doctor. Erving, recovering from a sprained ankle, got off to a slow start and never got into the flow of the game. He scored only 13 points on a woeful five-of-19 shooting night.
"they didn't miss me," said Erving, smiling. "someone came through for us, as usual. Tonight we controlled the boards (76ers outrebounded Bullets, 52-42) and got that 11-point halftime lead. We didn't have to change anything at halftime.
"jones just dominated tonight. What else can you say?" asked Cunningham, "he was aggressive at both ends and played good defense inside. We tried to go to Doc early but it didn't work out. It was a nice thing to see him not have a good night and us do what we did."
The 76ers, who had whipped the Bullets five of six regular - season meetings, were very successful with their funnel - everything - down - the - middle defense. When a Bullet managed to penetrate, either Dawkins or Jones was right there. Except for Grevey (13 of 21), the other Bullet starters shot poorly. Hayes was six for 16 and Greg Ballard hit only five of 15 from the floor. Hayes also got in foul trouble.
"hayes getting in foul trouble helped us some," said Jones. "but I don't deserve all the credit for that. He had to stop other people. I looked to be more offensive-minded than usual because Doc was slow starting and Daryl had his hands full with Wes."